By Abdulrasheed Akogun
The Kwara State government has described the press release of the Kwara based Civil Society Organization, Elite Network for Sustainable Development (Enetsud), as political and reckless in its recent activities.
This much was contained in the government’s reaction, signed by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Education and Human capital Development, Kemi Adeosun to allegation of miscalculation of the contract sum, shooting the contract up to the tune of #40.5m.
The release reads titled RE: GOVERNMENT HIGH SCHOOL ILORIN, also justifying the #40.5m inclusion and denying the allegation of it being irrelevant.
“For avoidance of doubt, as a practical demonstration of this administration’s commitment to openness and efficient management of scarce resources, a Social Audit Programme was initiated. Through it, EnetSud, as a CSO, was willingly provided with a Bill of Quantity (BOQ) on some public projects. Through this mechanism, the administration has commendably subjected its projects to public scrutiny as a show of good faith and probity.
“The Ministry recalls that this CSO had last year submitted a report in which it made some observations, which have been taken up with the contractor and relevant officials. This, for the avoidance of doubt, is the essence of the social audit.
“However, the Ministry takes a strong exception to the recent claim by the civil society organisation to the effect that ‘irrelevant items’ worth N40.5m were wrongly inserted into the projects. Especially condemnable is the claim that the said sums were paid to some officials of the Ministry. We reject this outrageous claim that was credited to ENETSUD and we are beginning to see why a segment of the population believe the group is becoming political and reckless in its operations.
“The items which are in the project that ENetSud described as contract inflation covered statutory deductions for Withholding Tax (WHT), development levy, vetting fees, preliminary, contingency and progress photographs. These are statutory fees and taxes that are deducted from all projects payable to the state Government through either the Ministry of Justice or Ministry of Finance as revenue. They are lawful. Not a kobo of this money is due to the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development. It is therefore out of place for anyone to take liberty in the social media or social audit to impugn the characters of public/servants.
“One wonders whether ENetSud has taken enough time to appreciate the rationale for the inclusion of these items to ensure effective projects management and delivery. Therefore, this could not have been construed as project inflation.
“It is regrettable that Dr. Alangbonsi, hiding under whatever guise could have descended so low to assassinate and malign the character of the Ministry of Education officials by alleging that excess money was returned to the Ministry. It is still being assumed that he may have been quoted out of context in his comment.
“The Ministry requests Dr Alagbonsi and the Insiderng.net to retract the malicious information doled out to the public through the Social Media, or mention the names of the contractor and the officials given the money.
” Members of the general public are therefore advised to discountenance the malicious Social Media publication that is designed to distract the government from its determined campaign to not only give befitting facelifts to our dilapidated schools but also revolutionise teaching and the education sector in Kwara State” it reads